2019 Update: Administrative Professionals’ Day is April 24, 2019. You can check out our most recent thread on what we’re getting for our assistants on Administrative Professionals’ Day here. In the past, we’ve taken polls on administrative professionals day gifts before, talked about how and what to delegate to your assistant, and swapped stories of amazing assistants — our … Read More about PSA: Administrative Assistant’s Day is Wednesday!
What’s the difference between confidence and arrogance, especially at work, especially for women? How can you tell if you’ve crossed that line at work? Reader A wonders… I’ve got a sensitive subject that I haven’t seen discussed about discipline at work. I was recently hired at a law office where I’ve summered the last two … Read More about Being Confident at Work vs. Being Arrogant
2018 Update: We still love this discussion on how to be productive when you work in an open office; links have been updated below. Readers, do you have any tips for how to work productively in an open office? What advice do you have for someone struggling to adjust to one? Reader K wonders how … Read More about How to Be Productive When You Work in an Open Office
What should you do when mental health issues are holding you back and making it difficult for you to build the career you want? Reader O wonders… I have struggled with mental health problems for years and as a result have always worked really terrible jobs (combination of poorly paid, admin/dogsbody type roles with bullying managers). I … Read More about When Fear and Low Self-Esteem Hold You Back
Do you feel like you have to be a “bitch in business” to get ahead? How do you reconcile as a woman leader wanting to be liked — versus wanting to be respected?
If you’re running for the train in high heels and find yourself getting left behind by a male colleague (or a woman, for that matter) as you struggle to keep the pace, is that coworker simply being rude? What should you do next time?
Reader L wonders:
I am from Germany and I love your Blog. Some topics are differently handled here but still most of the tips and advice can be applied here as well. I have experienced some male behaviour which I just find to be rude but I wanted to know if other women have experienced it as well and how they dealt with it. I was travelling with my former boss and and we went to meetings with potential partners etc. I usually wore heels. After the meeting we really had to hurry to catch a train. Meaning he walked extremely fast and did not look after me where I was. I really had trouble keeping up with him. The other time I was prepared and wore flats but then we actually had to run to get to the train. A couple of weeks ago I was travelling with a sort of male CEO and the train was a bit late, but we still had more than enough time to get to our appointment. I was also pacing, almost running, just seeing that he did not bump into others.
I’ve seen situations like this unfold — and I definitely have Opinions. I’m curious to hear what the readers say. To recap, we’ve talked about comfortable heels, the best commuting shoes, how to walk quietly in heels, how to look professional in flats, and traveling with coworkers — but I haven’t stated my pretty stark opinion on heel height for work in a while…. so here goes:
If you cannot walk quickly in your shoes, you are wearing the wrong shoes to work. If the people you work with — whether women or men — are forced to change their routines and wait for you because of your fashion choices, you are making the wrong fashion choices.
The right time to wear shoes you can’t walk in: a) when they are limo shoes (as in, the limo picks you up at your door and drops you off at the restaurant where you have to walk exactly three steps before you sit down), b) when you’re a model, or c) when you’re a trophy wife or the princess daughter. OK, fine, one more: when you’re d) the boss and Can Do Whatever You Like Because You Set the Pace.
Maybe I’m being harsh — or too New Yorker-ish — but the business world moves quickly. When you’re lower on the career ladder, you have to follow other people’s pace.
Something else that I think Reader L is discovering is a personality I like to call the Eccentric Genius, which is a special breed of coworker/boss (usually an older man) who has either developed or kept odd quirks that have been tolerated by those around him because he is Very Intelligent and a High Earner. Maybe he runs and bumps into others, but there are other versions of this same personality — one partner I used to work with had a thing about playing Tetris while giving assignments, hearing reports, brainstorming, whatever. As in, he sat with his back facing me and casually played Tetris the entire time. Charming! I’ve found that the best you can do is realize what the little quirks are, adapt as best you can if you need to continue the working relationship, and ultimately decide if want to continue the relationship at all. (Maybe I’m a pessimist, but the thought of trying to change this behavior, or somehow acknowledging it as rude or antisocial, never occurred to me as a real possibility.)
Next time, Reader L, make sure you have PLENTY of time so you’re not late, plan as much in advance so you don’t have to carry a ton of paperwork or anything with you, and possibly wear shoes you can run in.
Ladies, have you been left behind by coworkers because you couldn’t walk quickly enough in your heels? Have you had to work with difficult personalities at work (Eccentric Geniuses or otherwise) who had rude, antisocial habits? (Ladies on the other side of the table — have you gotten annoyed at coworkers who couldn’t walk quickly in high heels?)
N.B. PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENTS ON TOPIC; threadjacks will be deleted at our sole discretion and convenience. These substantive posts are intended to be a source of community comment on a particular topic, which readers can browse through without having to sift out a lot of unrelated comments. And so, although of course I highly value all comments by my readers, I’m going ask you to please respect some boundaries on substantive posts like this one. Thank you for your understanding!
If opposing counsel likes to send you correspondence by fax, is it rude to reply by email? A young woman lawyer wondered.
Should you friend your boss on Facebook or other social media sites? What about colleagues? What do you do when your superior sends you a request? We haven’t talked about Facebook and bosses for a long time, so I thought we’d revisit. While there are still a ton of amusing stories of people getting fired … Read More about Should You Friend Your Boss On Facebook?
Should you join the office boys’ club if you’ll be the only woman? What if your male coworkers meet and talk shop outside of work while taking part in an activity — such as tennis or golf — that you don’t even like? Reader K, who works outside of the U.S., wonders: I have a question regarding the ‘old boy’s … Read More about Joining the Boys’ Club When You’re a Woman
If you’re out to lunch with partners, should you EVER pick up the tab? Oh, and also: you’re the youngest person present and the only woman. We’ve talked about summer associates paying for lunch, but Reader B has a slightly different situation. Here’s her question: I work in a small firm (12 attorneys) with a pretty casual … Read More about Lunch with Partners: Who Picks up the Tab?
A reader was told by her boss that she looked “too serious” or sometimes angry — so she should smile more.
What should you do when a flirtatious colleague — one who’s kind of your boss — is hitting on you at work? Reader J wonders… I am a (female) BigLaw associate, who has become the focus of flirtatious attention from a (male) partner, who (1) works in another, but near-ish office, (2) is on the Executive Committee, and (3) has … Read More about How to Tell a Flirtatious Boss to Stop Hitting on You